A Christ with no origin
Last week, I wrote about the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:1-17. It’s important to understand where Jesus comes from in relation to the Old Testament. But when considering the origins of Christ, something else must be said. After all, there is no origin of Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 ESV). The beauty of Christmas is that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14 ESV).
The incarnation is the coming of God through the person of Jesus Christ. There is no beginning to Christ. His birth is not the result of sperm and egg. And that leads us to our passage this week.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18 ESV).
The natural person has a difficult time believing the truth of this claim. But the virgin birth is an inescapable reality of Christmas. Without the virgin birth, Jesus is just another man. In Romans 5, the apostle Paul describes Jesus in relation to Adam.
He writes, “For if, because of one man’s [Adam’s] trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (v. 17 ESV).
The natural man is plagued by sin. But Jesus is from the Father. He is born of the Holy Spirit. And those who place their faith in Him find the gift of righteousness. The virgin-born Christ is the Savior of the world. Why? Because He is the perfect Son of God.
Even still, the whole concept of virgin birth is naturally impossible. Joseph, Mary’s fiancé, is a little skeptical. The Bible says, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’” (Matt. 1:19-21 ESV).
I’m a newlywed. I got married three weeks ago. But if my virgin fiancé would’ve told me she was pregnant, I would’ve been greatly concerned.
I can only imagine how Joseph felt when his fiancé was found to be with child. Culturally, a premarital pregnancy would have been greatly despised. Joseph sought to break the engagement so as not to shame Mary. Until the angel appeared.
The angel’s proclamation is good for Joseph. As Matthew writes, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (vv. 22-23 ESV).
Quoting Isaiah 7:14, Matthew connects a prophecy made some 700 years earlier to Jesus Christ himself. Immanuel has come. And this changes everything.
In response to the angel’s appearance, Joseph is comforted. Matthew continues, “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus” (vv. 24-25 ESV).
Even as newlyweds, Mary and Joseph refrain from sexual relations until the birth of Jesus. They walk by faith. And their son is born of a virgin.
This is God with us. A Christ with no origin. Because He is the eternal Word made flesh.